Would you go under the knife for a new job?

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HR managers may try to stamp out discrimination but new research has found the majority of women still think ageism is a major obstacle – now, female job seekers appear to be taking ever-more drastic measures in attempt to level the playing field.

Women’s employment charity Fit for Work collaborated with cosmetics company the Heat Group to conduct an investigation into ageism and the workplace – and the results are somewhat worrying.
  • Over 60 per cent of women said they believe employers are more likely to hire a female candidate if they’re under that age of 40.
  • Nearly half of women surveyed said they felt they’d been discriminated against because of their age – 23 per cent said they were deemed too young and 23 per cent said they were considered too old.
  • More than 90 per cent of women said they thought employers consider candidates’ physical appearance before making a hiring decision.
When asked if they’d ever taken steps to elude discrimination, over a third of women admitted to deliberately altering their make-up, clothing or hairstyle in attempt to fit the employer’s ideal age.

Approximately 1 in 20 revealed they’d gone as far as cosmetic surgery in a bit to increase their appeal to employers.

“Women are unfortunately judged more harshly than men when it comes to their appearance, and this includes their age,” said Gillian Franklin, managing director of The Heat Group. “Now we have a worrying 39% of women who are changing their looks based on their idea of the ‘ideal age’ for a job.”

Donna de Zwart, CEO of Fitted for Work, said the charity was focused on eliminating ageism within the workplace by encouraging employers to value personal strengths above all else; “We will continue to remind employers to focus on skills, experience and attitude over a person's age.”

Have you ever felt discriminated against because of your age? Share your thoughts below.

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  • Gale on 2015-03-03 1:48:38 PM

    I just had my eyebrows tinted darker... they were quite white as I'm blonde. I look younger now (I'm 58). This is a directly related action for my interview this Thursday.
    Wish me luck!

  • Sharon on 2015-03-04 2:07:31 PM

    Sadly, I do agree that "mature" women job seekers often do feel they have to try to appear younger in order to secure employment. There are many obvious advantages to hiring a mature female employee - the facts that many have had a lifetime of experience multi-tasking and priority juggling, as well as typically having fewer demands on the homefront at this stage (which equals greater flexibility for work demands, including travel) - still don't always combat the ageism that I believe exists. The reality is that despite the focus on diversity in many organizations today, some recruiters continue to equate fresh ideas, enthusiasm and vitality with younger workers, and that's unfortunate. Those of us in the latter part of our careers have an incredible wealth of resources to offer the right employers - those who appreciate substance and a proven track record. It is shameful that so many women feel the need to resort to cosmetic surgery just to get the opportunity to prove themselves.

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